James Edgar relishing another Commonwealth Games

Triathlete James Edgar is relishing his second opportunity to represent Team NI at the Commonwealth Games.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Monday, 18th July 2022, 6:00 am

As a teenager on the Gold Coast four years ago Edgar finished 22nd in the triathlon, but with a fifth-place finish in the recent European Cup the Lambeg athlete, who will be in action on the first morning at the Games, is confident of a good showing in Birmingham.

“I finished fifth there in the European Cup at the start of the year and that was against top level competition with Vincent Louis, who’s like two or three-time world champion now and the current World U23 champion Csongor Lehmann and Grenus Growe, who was third in that race, and he won one of the World Cup series races this year,” said Edgar. “It was a good competition and it’s nice to know that that I’m able to compete with those boys, it’s good coming into this type of race and championship.

“As long as the race sort of falls in my favour with the swim not being too violent, it’ll be a good day.”

James Edgar competed for Team NI at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast

Edgar is hoping he can take his learning from the Gold Coast four years ago and put them into Birmingham.

“It feels great, it’s good to be on team for the second time and after the experience last time in Australia, it’s good to get back out there and race against the top guys in world again,” he said.

“I was 19 (Gold Coast) and in my first year at university, so everything was kind of new at that stage.

“It was my first-ever time doing long-haul travel or proper long-haul travel, so it was a bit different.

“Then the weather that we all expected for the day of our race never really materialised and we ended up with thunderstorms and rain, so it was kind of like racing at home, so it wasn’t too bad race day.

“The Gold Coast is very much a university city, which we found out quite quickly afterwards, so yeah, it was brilliant getting to meet a lot of new people and especially the athletes and the young team.

“As a triathlon it was the very first event we were finished quite early, we had the opportunity to go and see a lot of the other events and competitions, so you got to meet other people and you get a lot of people to travel around with.”

Edgar will be Team NI’s only competitor in the able-bodied triathlon, although there will be three athletes competing in the para-triathlon events which take place on the first Sunday of the games.

“I usually work out quite well in pressure,” he said. “I always tend to perform quite well at championships compared to the lower-level races.

“I think the stress works quite well for me, it makes you focus in a bit more, whereas when you have the lower-level races, your mind starts to go under and drift a little.”

Edgar began his sporting career in the pool and doing athletics before switching to triathlon.

“Swimming wise, there was a couple of national titles and running wise there was a few national titles and then being to the European championships in cross country and on the track and things, it definitely helps learn how to race, especially with the race craft and running on the track.”

“I’ve never ran a proper fast race so I just had to learn how to race properly and it seems to have helped me along the way.

“My dad did triathlon back in 2011, he did the local Lisburn one and then started doing a couple of Ironman events and then a couple of Ultra endurance events and that sort of got me into the first thing.

“Then there was Triathlon Ireland and the talent identification days, which you went down to, and it was a swim and a run and if you hit a certain amount of points in each one you got on the academy team, so it spiralled from there and that’s now 11 years ago so it’s been a long time.

“Cycling just basically came through the want to do triathlon, I joined the local cycling club, Maryland, just in Lisburn and went out with them a couple times a week and at the age of 12 or 13, you’re getting left out in Castlewellan having to find your own way, it’s a steep learning curve but it’s good fun.”

Training for the three sperate disciplines in triathlon takes a lot of dedication said Edgar. “Throughout the year you tend to balance all three together but if, there’s an area that you’re particularly weak in, you always,calways focus a bit more on it,” he revealed.

“At the minute I’m focusing a bit more on my cycling, but you’re also doing 12 to 14 hours in the pool a week and you’re doing 60 to 70 miles a week running so it adds up pretty quick. You’re looking at 30 to 35 hours a week of training.”

“Two to three days a week we’re in the gym, so it’s just keeping on top of that.”

“I’ve been quite injury prone for the last eight years, I got a stress fracture on my feet every single year, so it’s been a bit of a battle to just even to get to the start line for a lot of races.”